Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Life-Globe Shaken

I apparently rely heavily on my habits and routines. Being taken out of my usual routines is both refreshing and discombobulating. (I love those words!)

After it was determined that my computer was "totaled" a few weeks ago, I decided to buy a brand new machine and to embark on the journey of transferring money and data. This has also entailed learning the latest operating system, rearranging files, and evaluating old digital baggage. (You can guess what comes next: Fling, fling, fling! haha)

So I've been transferring vital files from my old HD to my external HD and meanwhile streamlining the files on my new HD because apparently I have waaay too many photo files hogging space on the new machine. It's all so annoying tedious that I can barely restrain myself from rolling my eyes as I type the words. *yawn*

As much as I sometimes fantasize about my machine being wiped and having to rebuild from scratch (start over! start fresh! hack back the digital weeds!), that's not the fun and productive way to do it. I got the next best thing, though--all or most of my old files, but with an opportunity to restructure and reevaluate all the stuff that was there. So I've dropped a lot of my usual activities while dealing with the new situation.

It feels strange that I have not posted to Flickr in weeks, have not been keeping up with many of my usual blogs or networks, have not been writing as much as usual. Instead, I've been doing hard disk rearrangement and uh, yard work. It's so strange, this feeling, that I can just drop my digital world to the bare minimum and take on different real life projects. It's like traveling in the American SouthWest and breathing deeper from the wide open spaces. There is more space there.

Then on top of that, we just had a long holiday weekend, which we were happy to use to do as little as possible instead of rushing off to far off entertainments. OR rather, we did do a lot, but it was mostly garden work and reading fabulously distracting fiction and having dinner and games night with my sister and hubs. And cooking. And of course, all the rearranging of the data. And getting the new printer set up. Oh, did I mention the all-in-one printer. Cool, cool.

Both of these events has taken me out of my usual way and thrust me into an alternate zone of activity. It's so weird and discombobulating, yes, and refreshing too! What if you had to start over? I might be neglecting a few things (Oh, I just know I am), I might be losing a few things (it seems inevitable), but mostly I'm enjoying the sensation of being shook up, trying new patterns, and seeing where the elements of my life resettle. So I'm milking it until the new/old routines settle back into place.

I'll come back, I will. I'm just rearranging. Better! Faster! We have the technology!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sorting Through the Old Closet

First order of business is that my computer is making a good impression of a dying bug (feet in the air, making pitiful noises or twitching-ack!ack!). Until this situation is resolved (in all likelihood, I'll need a new machine), I can check in only intermittently, stealing little chunks of time from my husband's machine. And commenting/posting less than usual.
* ^ *

Well. I didn't write yet about how I went on a clothes shopping spree last week! I had looked in the Sunday paper for all the current Mother's Day sales and had targeted a couple of locations to scout for new clothes. With limited time, I focused on one store that seemed to have the best possibilities, and I completely lucked out, finding tons of great stuff at heavy discounts. Woot! I ending up spending a good four(!) hours there.

Ordinarily, trying to make decisions in a big store when I don't know what I want leads to migraines and misery, but here I was busy but focused, collecting possibilities, trying on and evaluating options, finding new possibilities, weeding through my monster pile and actually making headway. It was even fun, maybe because I was finding things that really worked for me. As a bonus, I came home with a core of a new wardrobe and a new look, too.

Then I spent all evening gleefully retrying on all the clothes I had acquired, and also going through my closet to see what would coordinate or could be worn in different ways. Oh yes, and showing off to my husband, who, although ensconced in a book on the couch, was highly appreciative. He kept saying, "I like this new look!" Yeah. So I was quite pleased with myself.

Now that I had something like five pairs of great slacks (on clearance for 80% off!), I felt the freedom to weed out the old slacks that did not fit me any more, no matter how nice they were. Fling, fling, fling. I also pulled out some less-than-ideal skirts and blouses and added them to the "to donate" pile. Time to release them back into the wild. Ahhh, this was most refreshing, clearing out the old and passe.

I got farther and farther back into my closet, trying on everything and clearing out swathes of blah. Way back in the back, I finally reached some of my old dresses and nearly came to a standstill. Several sentimental pieces awaited me.

I took out the blue print mini dress that I looked particularly fabulous in oh, 14 years ago, and admired it. Yup, it was still extremely cute, but I haven't been able to fit into it in at least five years... Well, on to new and better things that actually fit. I gently folded it up and put in on the pile.

Then I tried on the textured black Lycra mini dress that I had been wearing when my husband proposed to me. Size 7. (Pause to laugh at the ludicrousness of ever having been able to wear that size. I did, though! For years!) I wormed my way into it and sashayed out to the living room. "What do you think, Babe? I know I can fit into it, but I don't know if I *should*." He took a look and said, "I like everything I've seen so far, but not that." "With the jacket?" "The jacket's not bad, but not the dress. It doesn't look good." Whew! A sensible and honest opinion is a valuable tool. It's true: it does not truly fit me anymore. I took one last look at the bulges (remembering more the way I looked in it when I first bought it), and put the little black mini dress on the pile. Ditto the wonderful teal knit dress I'd worn 18 years ago. Ditto the first dressy dress I ever bought some 20+ years ago for a winter wedding. I was a geeky, gawky twig back them, and the dress showed off my coloring and made me look like a sophisticated adult. Good memories. So it was painful to even think about letting it go, but I'm releasing that one back into the wild, too. Someone else will have to appreciate its fine fabric and fit.

It's strangely wrenching to let go of those old pieces that remind me of special or significant times in my life, though. I can imagine I am still that young person with all sorts of possibilities ahead of me, a skinny figure with nice legs, who is just starting to realize her potential and worth. I feel affection for her. But now I'm more on the mature end of that stage, and I can't be the cute and sexy girl any more. Like it or not, I'm all the way to woman now. At my age, I guess I'd better get used to it and live it like I mean it. Which also means letting go of those old parts of my image (or self-image) that no longer fit. Damn.

*Ripping off a few more pieces of old self.*

Here's hoping there's fresh new skin just waiting to show up.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Lightly Filtered

I'm trying a couple of new things recently, both exciting with possibility.

Finally, I signed up for Miss Smarty Pants (see FlyLady) to refocus on sorting out my wardrobe or lack thereof.

Years ago, I worked in high-end picture framing, which meant that I had to look good for working out front with clients, but not so good that the hands-on work in the back room would trash my clothes. My answer to that was mostly camp shirts and blouses with khakis. Can I say that I am damn sick of that look? It is not me! So I've been gradually getting rid of those old clothes, and now... *ahem* my clothes are suitable for a stay-at-home-somebody, alright. Speaking of persona, that is not really me, either.

Problem is, I need to look reasonably professional for the teaching work, but I have gradually outgrown a number of dresses and all of my pants that are not clothes-swap jeans. Last time I went pants shopping, it was a disaster - during the height of the spandex craze. *shudder* So my wardrobe as a whole has been shifting toward the utilitarian through benign neglect and lack of finding the right thing. Here I've spent all of my clothing dollars on high quality backpacking gear, but I don't have a decent pair of slacks to save my life. Wait, I do... but just one.

So the wardrobe as a whole needs some punch. I refuse to fall back into the whole 70s look, yet I am not a fashion enthusiast. So what to do? It appears that layers is the way to go these days. Now if I can find something not too tight or skimpy... Thank the Fashion Goddesses that MSP is showing me the way. Have I mentioned the personalized body profiles?

I don't expect to find everything I need all at once, and anyway, large sudden changes tend to flop under their own weight, but I am heartened by the new ideas I have been exposed to through MSP. So it IS possible. Must go shopping and see if I can start filling in some of the gaping holes in my closet. Mother's Day isn't until next weekend, right? So there should still be some good sales going on. Baby steps...

The other neat new thing I'm excited about is joining a online woman's writing group. I had already restarted this blog to write about my life (or more importantly, to motivate myself to write more). So it was serendiptious that a writer friend asked if me if I'd be interested in being invited to this group. Yes! Wonderful how the Universe gives you a gift right at the moment you open space for it. I am looking forward to "playing" and stretching myself a little more. Writing with/for a group is its own challenge apart from writing for ones own satisfaction. As it turns out, there's more stretching involved than in just the writing...

Over the years, I have worked to keep my perfectionism on a short leash (Down! Sit! Good girl! Have a snack.), and I'm pleased to have learned to roll with that pretty well. So: "Writing is like exercise. You've got to do it everyday. And it's not always divine." Nooo, it's not. The important thing is to keep writing. As with many other things in my life, I need to worry more about the *doing* and less about the final mythically perfect product. ( the degree that my mother now gets frustrated when she is trying to teach me the precise way to perform a quilting technique, while I barrel ahead because I don't want to get stymied by my perfectionism yet *again*. Hellooo childhood self, but I digress...)

So the writing, wow, the writing. Such wonderful amalgamations of language and thought and emotion and mood... To talk to and work with excellent writers is stimulating and a little intimidating. Not only because of my own modest pace, but because I am expected to comment and interact online as well. I am such a lurker. I read, I appreciate, laugh, cry, savor the neat turn of phrase or admire the pacing. But giving back out of my dis-jointed thoughts is a challenge.

Often I don't comment on blogs because because I'm dubious whether a comment is worth making or whether it's just a piece of flotsam passing through the ether of my brain. After all, there are legitimate times to be thoughtful and stay quiet. Even when I feel I have something useful to say, I don't usually have time to spent half an hour crafting that perfect piece of feedback. So with the commenting as with the writing, I have to push myself to just DO it. Just do it, already. It's okay if it's not perfect or if the thoughts don't fall neatly in line. If I had to edit all my ideas to perfection. I'd never get around to writing or talking at all.

Thank goodness for editing, though. It's the filter on my brain. :)
New tagline? Joy o' Life, Lightly Filtered* Ha! Okay, time to get back to work.

Oh, did I mention the joy of working with other creative and thoughtful women? Yes!

* Thanks for Shalet for the reminder of the filter idea.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Flower Macros Make It Big

I had to share this video I found on Flickr. The photographer made a slideshow straight from a folder of flower macro shots, unedited. Lots of shifting bokeh and changing light. Then he added music - which seems to be light Taiwanese trancelike pop (???) - to the shifting effect of the slideshow.

The combination is surprisingly beautiful. Happy May Day.